Change You Can Believe In

The world of social media is changing at a rapid fire pace.  This constant evolution and the breakneck speed at which things spread, not to mention the sheer volume of tools and outlets, can be overwhelming.  It can be enough to make marketers wonder – is it even worth it?  Well, you don’t have to look any farther than the recent presidential election to see the dynamic influence and ROI of social media. President-elect Barack Obama has been garnering high praise recently for his technology savvy campaign. Recent press coverage has highlighted the following:

  • During the election Obama posted over 2000 videos on his website barackobama.com
  • He has four times as many friends on MySpace than John McCain
  • He emailed over 10 million people
  • He has over three million friends on Facebook

As president, it is clear Obama plans to utilize his massive technology infrastructure. Change.gov, his transition website, was up and running a mere 24 hours after he was elected.  It’s fairly bare bones right now, but
there is more in the works.  Currently, visitors to the site can apply for jobs in the Obama administration and are encouraged to share their experiences from the election. In the past, presidents only utilized presidential addresses
and/or press conferences to communicate with the American people. Already, there is talk of Obama posting videos on Youtube similar to Roosevelt’s fire side chats. In addition, he has promised to open non-emergency legislation
to a five-day comment period where people can discuss the new legislation. It will be interesting to see how he harnesses his vast online community over the next four years.

Change we can believe in. That was Barack Obama’s slogan in the final stages of the presidential election. He promised to be a different kind of president, a president who will change the way things are done in Washington. The type of president Mr. Obama will actually turn out to be is unclear – what is clear is that Obama ran a very different presidential campaign that harnessed the power of social media and that, at the very least, should forever change how we relate to our government.

By Robert Clarke and Kate Jay

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